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Friday, 30th November 2012
In Business In Japan,

Japan's first mega-solar power plant at ex-airport

Japan is set to welcome its first mega-solar power plant on the island of Kyushu.

The large-scale solar power generation business is a joint venture between Orix, an integrated financial services group and Kyudenko Corporation, a provider of facilities in engineering services.

It will be built on the former site of the Makurazaki Airport in Makurazaki city in Kagoshima prefecture.

Initially, the project will produce a maximum output of 8.5 MW and is the first time in Japan that an ex-airport location will be used for a mega-solar power plant.

The two partners have worked together to develop the solar farm and have included social and environmental elements. A space for viewing the plant in the terminal building, an astronomical observatory, along with the installation of environmental education facilities to demonstrate how solar power works are all scheduled.

Due to begin construction in March, 2014, the installation area will be approximately 129,000 m2.

There will be around 53,480 solar panels which will generate a projected 9.86 million kWh a year – equivalent to the annual power consumption of 2,740 households.

Opened in January 2001, Makurazaki Airport was Japan's first commuter airport.

The city chose to close the airport at the end of fiscal 2012 because of the growing yearly budget deficits created by managing and operating the site.

Another reason was the financial burden it was placing on residents in the area, so the decision was made to lease it to a mega-solar operator.

In order to expand operations in the Kyushu region, both Orix and Kyudenko agreed to a strategic partnership in November 2011.

Orix purchased 90 per cent of the shares of Kyuko-Lease Inc, at the time a wholly owned subsidiary of Kyudenko and joint business operations were launched in January 2012.

Both companies plan to develop renewable energy and other energy-related ventures in the future.

Written by Graham McPherson